Nepal strikes back: India slammed

Updated on Mar 18, 2005 11:42 AM IST

It also criticised donors for imposing their "ideas", writes Keshav Pradhan.

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PTI | ByKeshav Pradhan, Kathmandu

Nepal launched a broadside against India on Thursday for skipping the Saarc summit last month and talking about the kingdom's political system while remaining oblivious of Maoist activities on its soil. It also criticised major donor countries for imposing their "ideas" on the Nepalese people.

"India is aware of the presence of Maoists (Nepalese) on its territory," said Tulsi Giri, King Gyanendra's seniormost deputy in the government. "We need not talk to it about them. The Maoists have links with the LTTE, People's War and Naxalites. How can India be oblivious of this and talk about the political system here?"

To support his argument, Giri quoted Indian newspapers and a speech reportedly made by Congress leader Karan Singh in Parliament.

Dragging Bhutanese King Jigme Singhe Wangchuck into the controversy, he said, "He also asked for measures to stop the Maoists who have posed a threat to neighbouring countries from Indian soil." He named Bangkok as another place where Maoists are located.

Casting aside diplomatic niceties, Giri mockingly described the Bhutanese king as "the greatest democrat". "Indian leaders did not mind shaking hands with him and making him their chief guest on Republic Day, but they refused to go to the Saarc," he said.

There is a general impression here that India got the summit cancelled to avoid a direct meeting with the Nepalese monarch.

Giri also took a dig at friendly nations which called for a "representative government" in Nepal. "It's natural to react to something that you don't like, but you cannot impose your idea on anyone," he said. "It is up to the Nepalese to decide what they want… the king has repeatedly pledged his commitment to multi-party democracy… he has taken this step (the February 1 takeover) only to re-energise this system."

Giri criticised multi-party leaders for allowing themselves to be "remote-controlled" by others. "Diplomats host dinners for them, but they don't call us," he said. When asked to name the countries that were backing the politicians, Giri replied, "It's up to you to guess."

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